A great number of eighteenth-century Windsor chairs were painted green; known as ‘forest’ chairs. The hues of green these chairs were painted varied from marine grey-greens through leafy yellow-greens to bottle greens though due to the composition of the paints, many chairs would now be unrecognisable to their makers, having darkened considerably; or indeed, been subsequently darkly varnished.
Many people would be unaware their Windsors were ever painted at all as some paints – light on binders – tended to be somewhat fugitive. Other chairs may have latterly succumbed to chemical or mechanical stripping at the hands of misguided restorers or during the stripped-pine years of the sixties and seventies.
Like discovering fragments of centuries-old paint behind layers of wallpaper and scrim during a house renovation, espying a hint of green paint masked by layers of varnish and wax on an eighteenth-century Windsor chair is testament to its age and offers a glimpse of its earlier existence.
The fugacious green paint in fig. 1 was intended both to confront and to demonstrate how some early forest chairs might have appeared when newly painted. Paint remnants like those in figs. 2 and 3 are often the only visible indication that a chair was ever painted.